Recently I made a post on how to pronounce T, entitled Pronouncing T – Practice the poem with the audio.The poem I posted helped you to practice the T which is at the beginning of a word or any stressed syllable. But in Toronto, and many other areas in North America, we often soften a T between vowels when the T starts an unstressed syllable.
For example, if we say until, then the T is sharp as it starts the stressed syllable -til. But if we pronounce the word city, in which the T is not stressed since the stressed syllable is -ci, then it is common to hear the T softened so much that it is almost a D. The key is to tap lightly just behind the teeth on the ridge and not to make a hard D.
Remember that pronouncing any T sharply, in the way I explained in the previous post, is always going to be clear and understandable. There is no need to learn to pronounce the T the way we do locally unless you desire to have a more Canadianized or Americanized sound. Plus it is good to know so you can understand when other people speak. But attaining clarity should always be the initial goal in any accent modification program.
Read the following popular tongue twister called Betty Botter. There are several variations of this little poem but all follow more or less the same story. Use the audio below as a model to practice with.
Betty Botter bought some butter.
But she said, “This butter’s bitter.
“If I put it in my batter,
“It will make my batter bitter.
“But a bit of better butter
“Will surely make my batter better
“Than if I use this bitter butter.”
So she bought a bit of butter
That she thought was so much better.
And she put it in her batter
So her batter was not bitter.
Thus it was that Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter
Which she put into her batter
And her batter was not bitter.